Highmark Caring Place Resources Help Children and Families Cope with Grief During the Holidays

Dec 02, 2008, 14:49 ET from Highmark Caring Place

PITTSBURGH, Dec. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Each year at this time people gather with family and friends to celebrate. But, the holiday season is an especially difficult time for those grieving the death of a loved one. Instead of celebrating, many are experiencing feelings of sadness and loneliness. The Highmark Caring Place, A Center for Grieving Children, Adolescents and Their Families, offers peer support groups and referral services for those who are coping with the death of a loved one.

"Every day can be difficult when a loved one dies, but during the holiday season feelings of grief can intensify," said Terese Vorsheck, Highmark Caring Place director. "Following the death of a family member, holidays are never the same. Whether it's the first holiday without a loved one or many holidays after a death, it is always different than before. Someone or something is always missing."

At the Highmark Caring Place, children and adults receive encouragement and support from other children and adults who have also experienced a death and discover that they are not alone in their grief.

"Children grieve differently than adults, and their need to grieve in their own way is sometimes overlooked," said Vorsheck. "Children don't just 'get over' grief. They need time to learn to cope with their loss and the many other changes that often occur."

To cope with grief during the holiday season, the Highmark Caring Place offers the following tips, which are available in a complete "Coping With Grief at the Holidays" brochure available to the community by visiting http://www.highmarkcaringplace.com or by calling 1-888-224-HOPE (4673).

    -- Realize that the anticipation of the holidays is often as difficult as
       or even more difficult than the holidays themselves.
    -- Remember your limits. Grieving takes energy. Be gentle with yourself
       and your children, and allow yourself to take whatever time for
       yourself you need.
    -- Seek out supportive people who accept your feelings and allow you to
       express them.
    -- Don't get caught in unreasonable expectations. You don't need to
       provide the perfect holiday.
    -- Take time beforehand to plan out your activities. Decide which
       traditions you will keep and which you may change.
    -- Embrace your memories, and share stories that make you laugh and cry.
    -- Talk about your grief and about the person who has died.
    -- Remember that everyone grieves differently, even within the same
    -- Allow children and adolescents space to grieve in their own way.
    -- Seek comfort in your faith if it is important to you.
    -- Remember that your grief is important and unique.

About the Highmark Caring Place

At three locations in Pennsylvania -- in Pittsburgh, Erie and Lemoyne (Cumberland County) -- the Highmark Caring Place provides peer support groups, referral services, adult telephone support, and educational programs and resources for grieving children and families. In addition, consultation services, as well as educational presentations and resources, are available for schools and other professionals in the community who work with children. Caring Place programs and services are offered at no cost. The Caring Place is a signature partner of Highmark Healthy High 5, an initiative of the Highmark Foundation. In addition, the Caring Place is supported by community contributions. The children and families are also supported by trained volunteers from the community.

Resources available through the Caring Place for grieving children and families can be accessed by contacting one of the facilities, or by visiting the organization's Web site at http://www.highmarkcaringplace.com. For more information about the Caring Place, call 1-888-224-HOPE (4673).

SOURCE Highmark Caring Place